nice bed with a mattress topperDo you know you can sweat up to 8 fluid ounces every hour in a warm room? Yes, that’s a lot!

The allergens like animal hair, dead skin cells, and dust mites lying inactive in mattresses irritate conditions like eczema and asthma, and things such as natural perspiration can easily seep in and leave that ugly yellow tidemark that mostly never comes back out.

And this where mattress toppers come in.

A mattress topper is basically an extension of the mattress. The additional comfort layer usually measures 4 to 8 inches thick, and provides you with extra cushiony softness and comfort.

In addition to this, they form a barrier around your mattress to safeguard against everything- from allergens to stains, thereby prolonging their life.

It is recommended that all mattresses must have a topper as they are a wonderful addition to your bed, while helping you improve your night’s sleep.

Some toppers such as, memory foam even molds according to your body to provide the ultimate luxurious comfort, thereby supporting your neck, back as well as various pressure points to get rid of uncomfortable pain and aches.

Also, if you cannot invest in a new mattress, or you do not wish to replace your existing one- but are aware it requires a ‘stand in’, then a mattress topper can certainly become your best friend.

It can give older mattresses a brand new life, if you cannot afford to buy a new one just yet.

When trying to purchase a topper in retail stores- this is where all the bemusement begin as you try to find the evasive ‘ideal mattress topper’.

The problem is that the market is flooded with hundreds of mattress toppers, some are exquisite and some way below par. You can easily find them from bespoke bed stores to online stores.

Prices vary immensely, and in some cases the only option you are offered with is what size you desire rather than the firmness or depth of the topper.

So here is a comprehensive guide on all that you need to know about a mattress topper:

Factors To Consider When Purchasing A Mattress Topper


hand touching a mattress topperTo make sure you land up with an appropriate topper that suits your personal preferences and needs, it is highly recommended that you make your purchase based on the following factors:

  1. Sleeping Position: It is important to consider if you sleep on your stomach, your back or your side, or if you are a combination sleeper, which implies you switch between back and side-sleeping position during sleep.
  2. Weight: Considering your weight is another indispensable factor. Do you have a large body frame or a small one? In case your weight is over 250 pounds, your present mattress needs to be dense enough to support a mattress topper.
  3. The Firmness of your Present Mattress: Since your mattress topper has to go on top of your present mattress, the topper must be selected based on the present mattress’s firmness. Is it medium-firm, firm or ultra/soft plush?
  4. The Level of Pain Relief you Desire from the Topper: Some people desire to purchase a new topper because they want relief from their existing joint, neck or back pain. While others just desire to make their mattress more comfortable and do not actually care about their pain.
  5. Price: The price of a topper can vary immensely, ranging from $35 to several thousands. However, a higher price does not guarantee it will be better for you. So it is all about meeting your personal preferences and requirements, so not simply purchasing the most expensive topper.
  6. Body Heat: Latex and memory foam mattress toppers tend to retain your body’s heat much more. The denser and thicker they are, the hotter they feel. Feather and wool toppers are great all year round, as they offer extra warmth during winter yet alleviate heat during summer. Also, do not forget that the external material can also contribute to the temperature  by absorbing away sweat for instance.
  7. Ease of Moving and Cleaning: Remember, that you require to remove the topper from packaging, then get it onto your bed, and remove it for cleaning. So you need to be aware of the total weight of the mattress. Egg crate, cotton, down and feather are easy to move as compared to latex or foam. However, down and feather are the most difficult to clean.
  8. Warranty: The standard time seems to be around 2 years for almost all toppers. So it is imperative to know both what you hope to benefit from using a topper and what the advantages and disadvantages are of each material.
  9. Alleviating the Noise of the Moving Partner: Latex and memory foam toppers are excellent at alleviating the transmission of movement from your sleeping partner. So in case you sleep with someone whose constantly tossing and turning keeping you awake, these toppers are great options.

The Relevance of Mattress Toppers

Firstly, you need to ensure that they complement your present bed, and is of the required depth to have any actual benefit.

As a rule of thumb, an appropriate mattress topper can make a good mattress into an amazing one.

On the other hand, it can make an unsuitable or bad bed much more bearable.

Think about a dorm room mattress for example: in many instances you can’t replace it, so the addition of a nice topper can make a big difference.

Similarly, if you happen to sleep on a cheap futon mattress, a topper can be all you need to go from uncomfortable to decent.

The importance of using a mattress topper can be split into the following two categories- increasing the longevity and increasing comfort of the mattress.

Furthermore, it is an excellent way of increasing the life of your mattress and offering you flexibility.

Here are some of its additional benefits:

Provides Extra Comfort Layers

If you select to sleep on a core mattress in the absence of an additional topper, it will certainly not be too long before the softer upper component squeezes under your body weight and your mattress will become defiled due to perspiration.

Adding a mattress toppers gives an additional layer which will squeeze before the mattress, thereby giving you additional comfort and an additional layer that can be easily rotated and turned.

Increases the Longevity of the Mattress

Considering the longevity of your mattress, it is essential to tackle this uncomfortable matter of sleeping directly on the mattress, which implies there is nothing there to battle the following enemies to your mattress:

  • Bacteria and Dead Skin: These will inescapably end up on your body, and by using a mattress topper, you can keep these away from the mattress. Latex, hybrid foam and memory foams must also have removable covers, so that you can wash them along with your bedding.
  • Body Sweat: Did you know your body sweats about 2 pints of moisture every night? Yes, this is through breathing, sweat and other fluids. And the only place for it to go is into the duvet, cover, and your mattress. That is when a topper comes into play and stops perspiration and sweat from reaching your mattress. Even though your mattress topper will absorb all the perspiration, it is way cheaper to remove and wash it, or even replace it instead of your mattress.
  • Unwanted Imprints and Settlement: Foam mattresses compress eventually due to the nature of their foam structure. So by using a mattress topper, you make sure that the top layer takes any sag instead of the mattress. In addition to this, it allows you to replace your topper should you require to, which implies that if your body weight increases pushing the original mattress towards its extreme.

The additional benefits include keeping your mattress newer for a longer period of time, and providing you with additional comfort.

When your topper has taken all it can after the onslaught of night activities, it is a petty expenditure to replace it instead of reaching the stage where your entire mattress needs a replacement.

A word of caution though: if you purchase a premium mattress such as the Amerisleep AS3 or the NECTAR Sleep (both featured in our exclusive mattress reviews), the addition of a topper can interfere with the design which was carefully crafted to provide the highest level of comfort.

In those cases, you might want to consider a mattress protector, which as the name suggests will ensure the cover will remain clean but without adding any thick layers.

Type of Material to Choose

a mattress with a topper and a nice treeMattress toppers come in a wide array of different materials and styles. So it is imperative to consider the pros and cons of each material:


A latex mattress topper can be quite expensive, however, like the memory foam toppers it can offer great comfort and support.

Natural latex mattress topper is made from the liquid present in rubber trees. Although not all latex mattress toppers are natural, be sure you thoroughly check before purchasing if it is imperative for you to fend off synthetic materials.

Here are its pros and cons:


  • Usually firmer as compared to memory foam toppers, but still feels soft
  • Great at providing pain relief and comfort by either softening or hardening the mattress
  • Extremely durable
  • Wonderful at countering motion transmission from your sleeping partner
  • Plethora of materials available, including eco-friendly or synthetic latex
  • Non-allergenic and antimicrobial, unless you have some allergy to latex


  • Not very economical
  • Can feel hot during summers
  • Not suitable for people who have allergy to latex


At the other end of the topper materials is the natural material of wool. This can be expensive, however, here are some positive reasons for it:


  • It is a naturally comfortable and soft material
  • Mites and bed bugs usually stay away from wool
  • It is perfect for allergy sufferers who may have issues with synthetic materials.
  • It is durable as it lasts for several years.
  • It is excellent for keeping cool during summers and warm during winters


  • Does not offer the same cushiony feel as memory foam
  • As compared to other fabrics, it is much more expensive

Memory Foam

It is one of the most popular materials people choose. Since a memory foam mattress is fairly expensive, so a memory foam mattress topper can in part emulate a more costly mattress.


  • It helps to mitigate the irritation and noise of a partner who moves around in the bed
  • It is extremely durable and lasts for several years
  • It provides support if you have back, muscular or joint pain
  • It conforms to your body, thereby providing a relaxing and supporting experience
  • It is available in a wide array of densities so that you can find the appropriate firmness to suit your preferences


  • It sometimes has a strong chemical smell initially which dissipates after a couple of days
  • It may also hold body heat, so it is recommended to find a breathable memory topper if you tend to over heat

Duck Down or Goose

Such type of toppers are well known for their comforting feel and softness. However, if you a require a firmer topper, or you are an allergy sufferer, it may not be appropriate for you.


  • It is very durable and lasts for several years
  • Good temperature regulation in the winter and summer months
  • It helps to alleviate movement disturbance


  • Not suitable if you require a firmer topper to help with pains and aches
  • May require fluffing in order to keep in shape
  • May not be very thick to disguise a knotty mattress
  • Risk of feathers nudging through eventually, though good quality toppers are specially designed  to fend this off. Also down should lower this risk as compared to feathers

Polyester and Cotton

There is a wide array of pads and toppers from cotton, and usually with a mixture of polyester, cotton and other materials. And that is why the price can vary immensely with these.


  • Polyester mattress toppers are quite reasonable
  • Range of options vary from organic to synthetic
  • Usually easier to clean as compared to other materials
  • Possibility of getting very soft high thread count materials


  • High quality cotton can be extremely expensive
  • It is not very durable like latex, memory and foam toppers. The cotton is much more likely to squeeze in a shorter period of time

Egg Crate

It refers to the shape, especially the little bumps. It is imperative to note though that you can get this made either from a basic foam or a good quality memory foam.

And that is why the price of a egg crate topper can vary immensely for products which may sound and look identical.

Since it is made from foam, it may not offer the same luxury as others, however, it is a good option if you have a lower budget.


  • It is a good option to use for holidays or cramping
  • It is thin and light weight, so it is extremely easy to roll up and transfer
  • It is cheaper as compared to other types of material
  • It can be placed on top of one another, in order to enjoy a thicker padding


  • It can be warm during the summer months
  • It is not very durable, and can begin to fall apart if used often
  • Does not offer as much comfort and padding as compared to other materials

They are even available in a wide array of different types to suit the requirements of every B&B, guest house owner, or small hotel.

Filtered Mattress Topper

a wooden floor with mattress protectorIt simply tucks around the mattress like a bottom sheet, thereby making it an easy and prompt bedding item to change when time is limited.

Zippered Mattress Topper

It is zip closed around the mattress, thereby implying it won’t just slip off if the person sleeping on it is prone to tossing and turning all night long in their sleep. Also, it firms a dense barrier against allergens and stains.

Polyurethane Mattress Topper

It is a fine and soft waterproof option, integrating a breathable reverse that does not disturb sleep with crackling noises just like traditional waterproof toppers.

Waterproof Mattress Topper

It offers superlative protection against spills and stains, and tremendously alleviates the ability of mould to grow on the mattress.

Polypropylene Mattress Topper

It is lightweight, yet immensely strong. It incorporates low moisture absorption, thereby making it not just stain and moisture resistant , but very easy to clean.


A mattress topper must be the very least of your efforts to help mitigate the damaging effects of perspiration and other fluids during the time spent in bed.

A topper is a wonderful way to augment the comfort layers of your mattress and it helps to alleviate the wear and tear put on your mattress.

But the appropriate topper can offer much more: some safeguard mattresses from dust, spills, dander, while some help your bed stay at a very comfortable temperature, some alleviate how much your mattress moves when someone tosses and turns, while some can make a so-so feeling bed a wonderful place to sleep.

It is certainly an excellent piece of investment bedding, upholding enduring quality, reliability, comfort, and hygiene in all mattresses.

Although adding a topper to the bed may be a bit expensive and require a little more effort, you certainly cannot deny what a good impact it can have on your comfort level as well as the quality of your sleep.

However, you cannot just go in the market and choose a topper, and it will definitely be the one that you were seeking.

You will have to look for the appropriate thickness, size and density that matches your personal requirements and preferences, and also fulfills your comfort requirements at its best.

To simplify things, assuming you spent some time choosing your mattress, a good tip is to simply match the materials of the mattress topper to those within your mattress. If you liked it for one, you might like it for the other. But obviously it’s not a must!

And don’t forget that the alterntive to buy a topper is to replace the mattress altogether. Premium mattresses like the Saatva or the Leesa are already very comfortable and usually don’t require any adjustments.

Lauren Kendrick

Lauren Kendrick

Content Contributor

Lauren is an occasional contributor who helps Ted and Stacey at the peak busy times. She's a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, but also studied Marketing and Classical Literature.

Updated at March 26, 2020